The connective power of agriculture on society

This year CSANR sponsored travel for several WSU students to attend the Tilth Conference in Spokane, WA. We are posting reflections written by the students over the next several weeks. Please feel free to comment and give these students your feedback.  To view student posts from this year and prior years, visit

Derya's headshot
Derya Eroglu Karaca

My name is Derya Eroglu Karaca, and I have been a graduate student in the Crop and Soil Science Department at Washington State University for two years. First of all, I am grateful to WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) for giving me a chance to attend to the 2018 Tilth Conference and for supporting the costs of my Tilth Conference trip. Secondly, it was my first time to attend the Tilth Conference in Spokane, Washington. It was a great opportunity for me because I am from Turkey, and my grandfather and my father are farmers. They grow some crops like corn and tomato, but they have some problems with the use of pesticide and fertilizer, the use of non-organic seed and sustainable agriculture. The 2018 Tilth Conference was a very informative experience for me to change some incorrect agricultural applications in my family farm and my country.

My expectations before attending to the Tilth Conference were 1) having the opportunity to meet with professionals, farmers, and scientists; and 2) learning new information from their research and farm stories. The 2018 Tilth Conference focused on different topics including sustainable agriculture, social issues in agriculture like ‘Women in Agriculture’, marketing processes and business skills of farms.

I was interested in sustainable agriculture and seed production technologies, so “Organic Seed Production for Diversified Markets and Farm Resiliency” was one of the most important presentations for me. For the first topic, the speaker, Aaron Varadi, mentioned that although organic seed production has many benefits, this process includes different challenges like crop rotation challenges and possible problems such as insects and too hot or cold temperature for good pollination. He explained all of organic seed production processes step by step from good stock seed to storage and shipping. He said “We cannot grow good food without good seed.” He was really right because farmers in my country usually use non-organic seeds which are imported from different countries, and currently, they use much more pesticides than were needed in the past. In addition, he stated the main considerations for seed crops which are very important to produce organic seeds, and requirements of wet-seeded and dry-seeded. I learned that self-pollination is important for Fabaceae, Asteraceae, and Solanaceae while crossing pollination is a very useful method for Brassicas, Chenopods, Cucurbits and Apiaceae.

The Tilth Conference provided many opportunities for me. We shared our studies with each other, increased our knowledge about different agricultural fields, and have made new friends. In addition, after I head back to my country next summer, I will encourage farmers in my country to grow organic crops with good seeds.